Series Code: RQRA
Program Code: RQRA000026A
00:01 I don't understand.
00:04 Why did this have to happen to me?
00:08 I feel like I just can't make sense of things.
00:12 I need answers.
00:15 Where is God?
00:22 What do you do when Christianity
00:23 seems to fail you?
00:25 You've done what everyone says to do,
00:26 but it just doesn't seem to be working for you.
00:29 Welcome to Raw Questions Relevant Answers,
00:31 a program where we deal with questions just like that
00:33 for people just like us, young people.
00:36 My co-hosts today
00:37 are Michelle Doucoumes and Mark Paden.
00:39 And we're going to be addressing
00:40 two raw questions today.
00:42 I hope you're ready for these.
00:44 First one is from a 17-year-old female
00:46 from the East Coast.
00:47 She says, "If I can't enjoy Christianity here on earth,
00:50 where I should need it the most,
00:52 how could I live in heaven for eternity?
00:54 It makes me just want to have
00:56 as much fun as possible till I die,
00:57 and then burn it off in hell.
00:59 Christianity is just a set of do's and don'ts."
01:03 Heavy stuff. What do you think about that?
01:06 You know, the first thing
01:07 that I want to say to that is just that,
01:09 you know, this person isn't alone,
01:12 like if you are wrestling with this,
01:15 you're not bad.
01:16 You're not damaged goods because of this.
01:18 You're not cast off from God.
01:22 But the first thing by way of an answer
01:24 that I just want to bring up to this
01:26 is acknowledging the fact
01:28 that the premise of the question
01:29 at the beginning does have some truth to it,
01:30 you know?
01:32 If we don't love Christianity, if we don't love God,
01:38 actually I should say,
01:39 because sometimes Christianity can't be very Christ, right?
01:43 But if we don't love the things of God here on this earth,
01:46 there's a lot of truth that we won't be happy in heaven.
01:49 But where I think the question
01:51 needs to go a little bit of a different direction
01:53 is that it's premised on this assumption
01:56 that Christianity is just a bunch of painful,
02:00 monotonous stop doing this, start doing this,
02:03 stop doing this, start doing this.
02:04 The reality of religion that the Bible paints
02:07 is much different, much more beautiful.
02:11 At the right hand of God are pleasures forevermore,
02:14 you know.
02:16 There's all kinds of verses in the Bible
02:17 that paint the true joyous experience
02:20 of the Christian.
02:21 And this is what I think we have to really recognize,
02:23 first of all, is that true religion
02:28 is actually really beautiful.
02:29 I want to say a couple more things,
02:30 but I want to let you answer too.
02:33 Well, yeah, I mean, I think of John 10:10
02:36 where Jesus says,
02:37 "I have come that they may have life
02:39 and have it more abundantly," you know.
02:41 And John 15:11,
02:44 "These things I have spoken to you
02:45 that My joy may remain in you and that your joy may be full."
02:50 I relate to this person's struggle.
02:53 I remember a time in my life where I decided that
02:57 if this was what there was to Christianity,
02:59 then it wasn't working for me.
03:02 I remember that, and I remember realizing,
03:04 well, I feel like life in the world,
03:06 I don't think that's a good idea either.
03:08 And I knew enough
03:10 in my Christian upbringing to know that,
03:11 but yet it's that nothing was working.
03:14 And it was a really disconcerting thing.
03:16 And the Lord used that time in my life to actually show me
03:19 that I didn't really understand my faith.
03:24 To be honest, I had heard a lot about Christianity,
03:26 my whole life, I knew a lot about God,
03:29 but I didn't really know God.
03:31 And it drove me to a point where I really had to say,
03:34 "Well, God, if this is going to work,
03:36 then You need to show me, show Yourself to me."
03:40 And I started searching in God's Word about these things.
03:42 I genuinely started studying about the life of Christ
03:45 and in devotional book, Desire of Ages,
03:48 and different things and really asking tough questions,
03:50 "God, who are You? And what does this mean?"
03:53 And I can't explain a magic formula
03:55 that fixed it for this person asking the question or for me,
03:59 but I can say that God came through.
04:02 And I do believe that God comes through
04:03 when we seek Him.
04:05 There is more to Christianity that there is to find
04:07 and God wants us to find.
04:09 We're told that, "No good thing
04:11 does He withhold from those who walk uprightly."
04:13 God wants good things for His people.
04:15 You know, when I first became a Christian,
04:16 I'm kind of ashamed to say this now,
04:18 but I literally was afraid of heaven.
04:21 I was afraid of it because in my mind,
04:23 I thought that...
04:24 The immediate thought in my mind
04:25 was I'm coming to realize how God feels about me,
04:27 but heaven, it just felt like such a long time,
04:29 like what am I going to do there.
04:31 And it was genuine fear, like I'm not messing around.
04:34 I was actually afraid because I just thought,
04:37 "I'm going to be there forever,
04:38 and I don't know if I want to be."
04:42 And what changed everything for me
04:44 was whenever I fell head over heels in love
04:46 with a man named Jesus,
04:47 and then all these conversations
04:49 you hear in church about what heaven's going to look like
04:51 and what my mansion is going to be
04:52 and what the streets look like.
04:54 I don't care whether I'm going to have,
04:56 you know, this or that,
04:58 or, you know, if I'm going to see this
04:59 or see that in there,
05:01 none of those things matter to me anymore
05:02 because the only thing that makes heaven
05:04 heaven to me
05:05 is the presence of Jesus and God the Father evermore.
05:08 I never have to wonder if I'm good enough for Him.
05:10 I never have to wonder,
05:11 you know, if I have to leave Him.
05:13 I can just bow down and weep at the feet of Jesus.
05:15 I can wrap my arms around His legs,
05:16 and I never have to let go.
05:19 And that's what makes heaven heaven to me.
05:21 And I think that's what
05:22 we're carrying with us into heaven
05:25 is a genuine love for fellowship with Him.
05:27 Jesus says in John 17:3,
05:29 "That this is eternal life that they may know You,
05:32 the only true God and Jesus Christ,
05:33 whom You have sent."
05:35 And this is a sense of intimacy
05:36 not just an intellectual venture.
05:38 And if we know them here,
05:40 we will want to be with them there.
05:42 And that's what God wants for us
05:44 is to know him as He truly is
05:46 and to enjoy Him here
05:47 and for that to carry over into eternity.
05:49 You know, kind of the picture
05:51 that you're painting is this picture
05:53 where we have to fall in love with the beauty of who God is.
05:57 We have to know...
05:59 We have to have this change of heart in which,
06:02 you know, we'll love the things of God.
06:04 And once we have that experience,
06:05 then the things of heaven will become beautiful to us.
06:09 There's this principle in Romans 8:7
06:12 that I think has a lot of significance in this,
06:16 "Because the carnal or natural mind
06:19 is enmity against God,
06:21 for it is not subject to the law of God
06:24 neither indeed can be."
06:25 Here's the basic human problem,
06:27 and let me parse through this old English for a second.
06:31 Basically, if our minds are still unrenewed,
06:35 if we still are in this state of unconversion in heart
06:38 where we don't love the things of God
06:41 and where we love the world,
06:42 we can't really love the law of God.
06:45 If we're in...
06:47 The truth of redemption is that we are naturally very sinful.
06:51 And the only way to truly love the things of God
06:54 is for God to go on this process
06:56 where He takes out our messed up stony heart
07:00 and replace it with a heart
07:01 that is fragrant and beautiful and whole in God.
07:06 And that it's a new heart.
07:08 This process is described in Ezekiel 36.
07:10 And I believe that's when Christianity becomes fun
07:13 And I know sometimes
07:14 they don't think of Christianity as fun,
07:17 but I believe it should be.
07:18 Part of what makes Christianity so hard sometimes
07:20 is where we've got this part of us that wants God
07:24 and we've got this part of us that doesn't,
07:25 and we're warring with it.
07:27 But God wants to bring us to a point
07:29 where we just give ourselves to Him.
07:31 And we start to realize
07:33 that He's going to make our lives better,
07:36 that Christianity is not just like
07:38 a divine life insurance policy,
07:41 and I've heard it said like that,
07:42 you know, "Do the right thing
07:43 because you don't want to go to hell.
07:45 You'd be better to go to heaven
07:47 even if it's just gold streets."
07:49 But it's more than that.
07:52 It's life now,
07:53 and that would be the encouragement I have
07:56 for who is asking this is Christianity can be better.
07:59 God wants it to be better.
08:01 And that's the plan. Yeah.
08:03 We're told that, "Great peace have that love their law."
08:05 We need to jump into our second question here
08:08 because it's another heavy one.
08:09 "They say my dad..."
08:11 This is from a female who's 17, also from the East Coast.
08:15 "My dad is a pastor, and because he's so busy
08:17 I just feel like I'm a burden to him.
08:19 He comes home tired and treats me
08:20 like I get on his nerves.
08:22 I've had battles with depression.
08:23 And I feel like my mental health struggles
08:25 are making his life worse.
08:26 When I do things that are wrong,
08:28 he treats me like he's disappointed in me.
08:29 And I don't want that.
08:31 I feel like my dad stress is my fault,
08:33 and I'm such a failure."
08:36 I wanted to kind of defer to you first now because...
08:39 Not because you had the same experience
08:40 but because you understand the pressure that comes with it,
08:42 you yourself are a pastor's kid.
08:44 It is true. I will admit it.
08:46 I'm a PK, pastor's kid.
08:48 And people believe different things about that.
08:50 It seems they believe you're either really good
08:52 or really bad for that.
08:54 But I will say something,
08:56 I relate to the struggle of feeling a pressure.
08:59 I think sometimes when we have a parent
09:01 who's in a leadership position,
09:03 especially a spiritual leadership position,
09:05 we are very cognizant of the fact
09:07 that people watch us.
09:09 And sometimes that may make it seem like
09:11 it's not okay for us to have struggles
09:14 because we're supposed to be a good example to the church
09:18 or because we're supposed to not burden our parents
09:21 'cause they're doing God's work.
09:23 And the first thing I want to say is that
09:26 a pastor's kid is just a kid,
09:29 and you're allowed to have struggles,
09:31 and we have struggles.
09:33 And it is still a parent's job to be there in those struggles.
09:39 Don't feel guilty about that.
09:41 Don't feel like it's wrong
09:43 because you're going through something difficult.
09:45 We all go through things.
09:46 And being a pastor's kid does not exempt you from that.
09:51 Yeah, I think the other big thing too
09:53 in this all is learning to really make God our father.
09:57 You know, we can't pick who our father or mother is.
10:00 You know, we all go through things,
10:02 people make decisions in life.
10:03 That's part of being human. We have free will.
10:06 And sometimes parents make decisions, do things,
10:09 act in certain ways that aren't helpful.
10:12 And the most times, they aren't intentional.
10:14 I just make sure that's clear.
10:15 This isn't intentional on most occasions, but go ahead.
10:19 And I think the big thing
10:21 that we need to do is make God our father,
10:24 really learn to come...
10:26 Like if you're in this situation,
10:28 and you can't really be vulnerable with your father,
10:32 let's say, be vulnerable with God.
10:35 Learn to make Him
10:37 your comforter, your counselor, your help.
10:40 When you're depressed, go to Him.
10:42 Seek comfort in His Word.
10:44 And it's not...
10:45 Yes, it would be great if your father could be there,
10:48 but you're gaining an experience
10:50 that will put you so much farther
10:52 ahead of all your peers and experience with God
10:55 if you learn to make God's Word your counselor.
10:58 The situations that people in leadership go through,
11:01 just from a spiritual warfare standpoint,
11:03 are no joke.
11:04 And I think very rarely appreciated
11:06 or understood by a lot of the lay people.
11:10 Satan hates God.
11:12 He hates the followers of God.
11:13 And he doesn't want the cause of God to succeed.
11:15 And he hates the family.
11:17 Well, what do you do when all those things
11:18 converge into one household,
11:20 someone who's come into their life
11:21 to the things of God,
11:23 leading in the things of God
11:24 because if Satan can take down a leader,
11:26 people lose their faith in the entire movement
11:28 a lot of times.
11:29 It's not that that's a reasonable response
11:31 or an acceptable response necessarily,
11:33 but it does happen.
11:34 And so because of this
11:36 Satan is seeking to attack the homes of godly leaders.
11:39 And there are times, when our moments of weakness,
11:41 we fail our children.
11:43 One of the most manly things a dad can do in a situation
11:46 like that is own it.
11:48 But it's difficult.
11:49 But I think that this is an appeal to adults
11:52 who may be watching this program,
11:54 when you realize that you're making decisions
11:56 whenever you have a short temper,
11:57 when you're impatient,
11:59 when you may be shaming your kids
12:00 because they do something wrong or frustrate you in a moment,
12:03 recognize that this person's question
12:05 is birth out of a mistake
12:06 made by someone who was well intended.
12:09 And one of the best ways to atone for that
12:11 and close up that gap of trust
12:13 and intimacy is to face it head on and own it.
12:17 It would be far easier,
12:18 and things would heal far more quickly
12:19 as we in our interpersonal relationships,
12:22 we just take responsibility and recognize,
12:24 "I shouldn't have said that that way.
12:25 I'm sorry.
12:27 Will you forgive me?
12:28 Dad failed you just now, and I'm sorry."
12:31 And so that's something
12:32 that I just wanted to kind of give
12:34 as some form of explanation.
12:35 Even if parents don't do these things,
12:39 we still can find healing and acceptance with God.
12:42 But you know what?
12:43 There are times when they just don't realize it.
12:44 And sometimes what we have to do
12:46 is go through that process of saying,
12:48 "Hey, you probably didn't mean it this way,
12:50 but this is how I received that when you came home yesterday.
12:54 And I shared with you something I've done wrong that day,
12:56 and I'm sorry.
12:57 I felt 10 times as bad, like I was being ashamed
13:00 and identified for how I had failed,
13:02 and that really hurt me.
13:04 I want to change, but this hasn't helped me.
13:05 And I need to communicate that."
13:07 And whether they respond positively or negatively,
13:09 you know that you've done your part,
13:11 and you can have peace at the end of the day
13:13 and seek that healing from God
13:14 that you didn't find in that environment.
13:16 Do you have any other brief closing thoughts?
13:20 Go first.
13:21 I just want to say briefly,
13:23 you know, sometimes a parent may be doing things
13:24 that are really not good.
13:26 They may be completely hypocritical,
13:27 even in church leadership,
13:29 and to those I would make an appeal,
13:30 seek God, you know,
13:32 really see God for repentance and grace.
13:36 And ask if what your kids are saying is true,
13:38 not trying to justify yourself immediately.
13:40 We don't minister to our own families
13:42 or minister it to other people, maybe in vain.
13:44 Wow. Yeah.
13:45 I just want to make an appeal
13:47 to those who are watching today,
13:48 whether it'd be parents in these situations
13:50 or young people, that there's a God in heaven
13:53 who has love for you
13:54 even when you fail, when you stumble,
13:56 when you misunderstand,
13:57 when the whole thing doesn't make sense,
13:59 He loves you, He's pursuing you,
14:01 and He has something vastly better to offer us
14:03 than we are seeking for ourselves.
14:05 Thank you again for joining us on
14:06 Raw Questions Relevant Answers.
14:08 You can submit your questions
14:09 to www.facebook.com/RQRA3ABN.
14:15 Bless you.